Virtue Criticism

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Next to his great contemporary John Donne, who was a family friend, fellow poet, and fellow churchman, Herbert is regarded as the foremost among the seventeenth-century metaphysical poets. His book of verse, The Temple, in which “Virtue” is included, enjoyed immense popularity throughout the seventeenth century in part because of the devotional aspect of his poetry and in part because of his reputation for having a character marked by gentleness and saintliness. His poetry remained popular despite the disfavor his religion, his family, and his allegiance to the monarchy earned him as a result of the displacement of the monarchy by the government of Oliver Cromwell between 1640 and 1660.

The great American intellectual Ralph Waldo Emerson, discussing Herbert's verse in his lecture “English Literature: Ben Jonson, Herrick, Herbert, Wooton,” remarks that Herbert was “not content with the obvious properties of natural objects but delights in discovering abstruser...

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This section contains 343 words
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Buy the Virtue Study Guide
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